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We learned so much at the PPA Arizona Grand Slam

We just returned from the incredible PPA Arizona Grand Slam in Mesa, Arizona.  We learned so much about taking our little jojo+lo pop-up shop on the road. We saved on shipping by ordering three new shirt designs from a fabulous screen-printer, Thrive Screen-printing in Phoenix, who printed our new Arizona Grand Slam tee featuring a line-art saguaro cactus with a pickleball sunset, our super popular Dink Local Arizona tee with the shape of the state of Arizona, and our LOVE design with a pickleball “O”. We printed these designs on a variety of colors and styles of tees and tanks. We also packed as much inventory as we could into four huge pieces of luggage…pop-sockets, hook-ups, hats, visors, tees, and tanks. We took a sample of every one of our tees with us to display so customers could see and touch them and order online even if we couldn’t transport them from MI to AZ. To avoid the hassle of opening our pre-packaged tees, we had a rack of blank shirts with every size and style we offer for customers to try on since all of our printed tees and tanks are folded and pre-bagged. Jojo and her husband Peter crafted lightweight portable hanging ladders from PVC pipe and rope to hang from our tent to display all of our tee designs and also a portable PVC hanging rack for our blanks…brilliant! Ironically, one of our slogans at jojo+lo is “changing the image of pickleball one graphic tee at a time” but our very first sale at the tournament was a hot pink sample blank tee!
Even though Mesa, Arizona only averages about 35 days of rain per year we arrived at 7:00 am the first day of the tournament to pouring rain. Our main goal was keeping all of our merch dry while the tournament was delayed due to wet courts. An efficient team of PPA volunteers rolled the courts dry so the tournament was only delayed a few hours. Shortly after we began setting up shop, we were greeted by Conner Ogden, Professional Pickleball Association’s Head of Partnerships, who wanted to make sure that we had everything that we needed. He was wonderful to work with the entire tournament.
Hannah Johns

We learned that pickleball peeps are the nicest people in the world. Everyone at PPA was so welcoming and professional. The beautiful and talented Hannah Johns, PPA Sports Reporter, who happens to be Ben John’s sister, stopped by our tent and we gave her an AZ Grand Slam tank which she modeled and posted on her social media. The adorable and sweet Smiley Riley who we only knew through Instagram stopped in and did the same.  We chatted a lot with Director of Pop-up Operations at Pickleball Central, Nicole Smith, and we had bites & bevs with her the second night of the tournament where she was kind enough to share a wealth of information with us about pop-up sales. Not only were the tournament coordinators and fellow vendors the nicest people, but the pros were also friendly and took the time to chat or take a photo with us…Tyson, Lucy, Simone, Catherine, Callie, Yana, Andrea and Gizmo. The other vendors all stopped by to make us feel welcome and offered us support in many ways.  We are especially grateful to Max Heller, Social Media and Marketing Director for Medicileaf, which produces premium grade cannabinoid wellness products. Max gave us a few lessons in social media posting and he is also an amazing rapper!  He performed one afternoon center court in our black Banger tee and gave jojo+lo a shout out. 

Doing a major tourney is a LOT of work…schlepping luggage and boxes and setting up shop. But when we see hundreds of people loving our store and then walking around the tournament in our tees, tanks, hats and visors, it is very gratifying. Also, where else can you start the day playing your favorite game, do a tee-shirt toss during an Anna Leigh Waters vs. Callie Jo Smith match, hang out with pickleball friends all day long, and at the end of the day sip a margarita that a super nice customer bought for us?  

So how did Jojo and I do in our matches? Better than last year! We made it three rounds this year and much to our surprise we got to play against two of our new fun friends Smiley Riley and Marcy the first round. Best of all, our little jojo+lo pop-up shop was a hit! We can’t wait for our next PPA tournament in May in Atlanta, followed by Cincinnati in September. And we hope to squeeze in a couple more too. Thank you PPA for this incredible opportunity. Check out our State-ment collection…Dink Local Arizona, Michigan, and Florida tees at jojoandlo.com with Texas and New Jersey to be added soon, and please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

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